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My Thoughts on the new ABC sitcom Bless this Mess


I watched the pilot episode of ABC's Bless this Mess with some trepidation.

I think I will reserve my final judgement until I've seen a few more episodes, but at the outset I have mixed feelings about the new sitcom that The Hollywood Reporter calls the show "Green Acres meets The Money Pit".

That description of the series seems pretty accurate, at least based on the pilot episode.

This is the official description of the show from ABC: "Newlyweds Rio and Mike make the decision to change the course of their life together and move from the relentless pace of big city New York to what they think will be a more relaxed existence in rural Nebraska. 

After dropping everything --including their jobs and an overbearing mother-in-law -- to make the move from skyscrapers to farmhouses, they soon realize that the simpler life isn't as easy as they had planned. Rio and Mike must now learn how to weather the storm as they are faced with unexpected challenges in their new lives as farmers."

photo credit: Variety.com

On the one hand, I'm thrilled that the exodus to the country, the desire to become more self-sufficient, the excitement of a young couple to live off the land and grow things and raise animals and all that has finally made it to a major network. 

Quite honestly, I'm on board with any show that features CHICKENS!!!! 

But on the other hand, I fear that there will be a marked lack of research, prior planning, etc. involved in order to keep the comedic theme running throughout the series, that whole "I can't believe we're doing this" and "We have no idea what we're doing" - and that unfortunately is a common theme with real life "homesteaders" as well.

I field questions on a daily basis from those who decided that raising chickens would be fun - without doing the requisite research into their care.

As a result, I hear about graphic predator attacks, gruesome deaths due to illness or cannibalism because of overcrowding, chicks not hatching or being killed, and a myriad of other issues that could have been easily avoided with proper planning and education.

(Note: with recent events and more people at home, the incidence of chicken keepers diving in without doing any research other than following a few cute Instagram accounts and figuring they'll learn as they go has quadrupled, more than quadrupled... but that's a whole 'nother topic for another day)

It's one thing to kill a crop or have your house fall apart around you because you didn't repair it correctly. It's another to start raising animals with no previous experience and without doing your homework. When animal lives are at stake, it's just not funny to dive in haphazardly. 

And I fear that this new show will make it even more okay to just "decide" to become a farmer/homesteader/chicken keeper. Even with all the missteps the couple has already made, Bless this Mess is still managing to romanticize country living - and we certainly don't need more of that. 

There's enough of that on Instagram and Pinterest already.  (In fact, Rio, the main female lead played by Lake Bell, made a comment early in the show referencing Pinterest.)

And sadly, too many people already overlook the hard work and commitment required to live off the land and to successfully raise animals - and crops - and care for old homes.

We certainly don't need a TV sitcom giving its blessing as well to just get some animals and sort of wing it, hoping for the best.

Fortunately at the very end of the pilot, neighbors arrived in droves of rusted pickup trucks armed with the tools to repair the leaky roof on the house.

Hopefully those same neighbors will step in to assist and educate the former city dwellers on the finer points of raising livestock.

Fingers crossed that the Bless this Mess producers can figure out a way handle this topic with care while still retaining the lighthearted tone of the show. Because getting laughs at the expense of living, breathing farm animals just isn't cool. 

Tune in to ABC Tuesdays at 9:30/8:30 to watch Bless this Mess starring Lake Bell and Dax Shephard.

Watch the trailer here.

So what do you think? 
Will Bless this Mess be a good thing for the future of backyard chickens or not? 

Update: I've been watching the first few seasons and Bless this Mess is a quirky harmless show. I don't think it will encourage anyone to actually get chickens, so altough there's little care about learning before diving in, I doubt anyone actually would watch and think the show borders on any type of realism at all.

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